F.A. Challenge Cup with Budweiser – First Round
Boreham Wood 0 Brentford 2
by John Mead
A game of two halves in which Wood were unlucky to go in two goals behind, an advantage which the visitors clutched very close to their chests, coming out to dominate the second period to book what was eventually an easy passage into the next Round.
All the highlights came in the first forty-five minutes, when Wood gave as good as they got, contributing to a cracking end to end Cup tie that had everybody in the 1,500 strong crowd on the edge of their seats. In the first minute Graeme Montgomery played Omer Riza through the middle of the park and he supplied for David Hutton who hit a cracking shot just over Richard Lee’s crossbar.
Two minutes later Omer Riza beat a defender on the right wing trickling a pass into the path of Mauro Vilhete whose cross was predated by Cliff Akurang who was just short of creating an upset. Mark Jones continued the Wood onslaught early on getting forward down the left wing his cross cum shot left Lee panicking, the ball dropping onto the roof of the net.
A poor Lee clearance was seized upon by Hutton who fed Montgomery and he forced a very fine save out of Lee who was quick to get down saving low at his right hand post. It took The Bees ten minutes to settle with Harry Forrester testing James Russell with a low shot from distance, before Clayton Donaldson stamped his mark on the game with a shot well blocked by the superb Reading Academy Loanee Ben Jefford.
Wood were now forced to defend and Callum Reynolds denied the dangerous Donaldson on one occasion, yet there was little he could do as the Bees stormed into the lead after sixteen minutes. A clearance the length of the field by Forrester allowed Donaldson to show his pace, blistering past Reynolds before cutting inside and finishing clinically from a tight angle across goal.
The goal gave the visitors confidence, yet Wood hit straight back when Montgomery supplied Riza who twisted and turned inside the area before hitting the side netting. The game continued in an end to end fashion, with Donaldson shooting just wide in the next phase of play. Chez Isaac then cut out a cross field ball before delivering a superb cross for Akurang, only for the busy ex-Tonbridge Angels central defender Leon Legge to take it off his head for a corner.
The Bees went close to increasing the lead when Jonathan Douglas hit a thirty yard screamer of a free kick that hit the crossbar. Legge had his ‘keeper Lee to thank for a quite brilliant save when Hutton’s cross was almost spectacularly headed past his own ‘keeper. The save was mesmerising with Lee forced to fling himself backwards through the air to produce a full stretch block, preserving the League One side’s slender advantage.
Wood continued to press and a superb interchange of passes between Vilhete, Akurang and Riza ended with a sublime ball from Riza that sent Montgomery through on goal. Legge came to the rescue, denying Wood at the near post.
Wood’s best chance came after thirty-five minutes when a visionary seventy-five yard ball from Isaac sent Riza through down the left. Ignoring the presence of two defenders he cut in from the left at pace hitting the crossbar with his rifled effort which Lee would not have covered.
Brentford defended well from Wood’s string of corners and increased their lead with a move of pace and quality. Tom Adeyemi won the ball which was then interchanged at pace between Douglas, Donaldson and Hayes who picked out the central run of Forrester. He needed one touch before finding space to pick his angle, giving his side a timely lift just before the interval.
If the first half was breathtaking, the second was breathless for Wood who never really got going. It took twenty-five minutes to muster their first effort of the half on goal as the experience and fitness of the visitors shone through. In truth Brentford will not play this well every week and it was their scintillating form on the afternoon that left Wood chasing shadows for most of the second half. Adam Forshaw ran the gauntlet down the left flank and could himself have bagged a hat-trick had the sight on his rifle been correctly adjusted.
The man of the second half was undoubtedly Russell in the Wood goal, who showed the form that his outfield colleagues simply could not match. He denied Tony Craig clawing his free header off the line, before producing a double save to deny Donaldson then Paul Hayes whose rapier turn in the box led to a shot that looked a certain third.
Greg Morgan and Inih Effiong were introduced with twenty-five minutes remaining but it already looked a tall order for Ian Allinson’s men. Another brilliant save from Russell denied Forshaw, before he supplied a cross for Donaldson whose header was diverted onto the post by another fingertip save from Russell.
The final whistle signalled a job well done by Uwe Rosler’s men, whilst for Wood it was a brilliant first forty-five minutes on an afternoon of what might have been’s.
Team: Russell, Nunn, Jones, Vilhete, Jefford, Reynolds, Hutton (Sub – Morgan 63 mins.), Isaac, Akurang, Riza (Sub – Effiong 67 mins.), Montgomery.
Subs (Not used): Noto, Scott-Morris, Close, Hastings, Baker-Owers.
Bookings: Reynolds, Jones.
Goals: Brentford: Donaldson 16, Forrester 44.
Man of the Match: James Russell.